AstraZeneca and Merck & Co have announced that they were granted orphan drug designation (ODD) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Lynparza (olaparib) for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
“Pancreatic cancer is an area of significant unmet medical need. This is especially true for patients with metastatic disease where the benefits of current treatment options are very limited,” says Sean Bohen, Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer.
Ongoing Phase III trial
ODD status was granted for the treatment of ovarian cancer in October 2013. Earlier this year an amended ODD status was granted to include both fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers following the expanded US approval of Lynparza in August 2017 for the maintenance treatment of adult patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer, who are in a complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy. The FDA grants ODD status to medicines intended for the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases or disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the US.
The use of Lynparza in pancreatic cancer is being assessed in the ongoing Phase III POLO trial, which is testing Lynparza as maintenance monotherapy vs placebo in patients with germline BRCA-mutated metastatic pancreatic cancer whose disease has not progressed following 1st-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
Results from the POLO trial are expected in the first half of 2019.
Image showing pancreatic beta cells at different stages of regeneration